Last night’s audition episode of American Idol was only an hour long, but somehow that felt like more than enough time for the San Diego auditions, which were filled with snarkiness-by-the-numbers from the judges, hopefuls who were just naive enough to think that they weren’t being set up for a laugh, and a girl with a crush on Simon who actually made it through to Hollywood. Oh, and the viewing public was finally introduced to one Carly Smithson, an Irish lass with a sleeve tattoo who spoke of the big chance she blew a few years back–you know, when she made it to American Idol‘s Hollywood round but wound up getting disqualified during season five. Curiously, the words “ultimate” and “high” were never uttered once during her segment!
Carly’s audition closed out last night’s show, and her low number and all of the judges knowing her already (when she said she was nervous, Randy replied “it’s us… we’re cool”) pretty much ensured that she was going to get through. Even though after she sang Simon tartly said that she was better two years ago, the most drama surrounding her audition came from her husband’s tattooed face; thinking about the pain he must have gone through to get a completely inked head made my whole midsection ache. Anyway, she thinks this is her year!
THE WINNERS: Despite last night’s episode being truncated in order to get House back on the air, 30 people–more than any other audition episode so far–made it through to Hollywood, including Samantha Musa, who had her sister come in and give Simon a lap dance while she gave the world yet another blah-yet-filigree-filled performance of an Aretha song. (Judging by a note that she passed to Simon pre-snuggling, Musa’s sister also has a crush on Barack Obama, and Simon Cowell does not know how to say the presidential hopeful’s last name.) There was also Michael Johns, who was a wannabe rock star in Australia who, like Carly, got screwed over by his label and who oversang Otis Redding for his audition.
BACK TO WHITE: Incidentally, the high number of white people oversinging classic soul jams who have gotten through seems kind of weird to me, what with the Idol producers sweeping Taylor Hicks under the rug.
PERHAPS HE GOT A FREE MANICURE AS A CONSOLATION PRIZE: The nails of Alberto Hurtado, who brought in a three-foot fan that had a joke about being a huge fan of American Idol written across it, were transfixing in a “So, if this Idol thing doesn’t work out, are you going for the Guinness Book of World Records’ Longest Fingernails Award?” sort of way. They were so transfixing–different lengths! somewhat cared-for in some areas, and obviously bitten in others!–that I don’t remember a single note of his original composition, although i did write down “all about tragedy” in my notebook. I think a special Idol Webisode where he gets a hand makeover and talks about the sadness lurking underneath his cuticles is urgent and key.
HARDEST-LUCK CONTESTANT: Right before the episode’s end we were introduced to David Archuleta, a 16-year-old who rebounded from paralyzed vocal chords and made it all the way to the Idol audition stage. Archuleta sang a very airy version of “Waiting On The World To Change,” which was notable enough that it apparently prompted that song to pop up on Google Trends last night, and made it through to Hollywood. Aww, right? Well, what that feel-good story left out is that Archuleta won the Junior Singer prize on Star Search back in 2003, so it’s not like he rose up from nowhere and fought off those vocal chord problems from the bottom. He’s another stage-managed kid! Man, I feel so dirty knowing that! So I’m going to give this episode’s hardest-luck award to Perrie Cataldo, a single father from Phoenix who ominously said that his now-deceased wife passed away because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and a lot of other wrongnesss. He had a cute kid and sang Boyz II Men and a cursory Google search reveals no appearances on Making The Band 2, thankfully.
PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 6/10. I swear to God she was falling asleep during the 11th Idol tryout of Blake Boschnack, who didn’t sound too bad but who was obviously being set up as a sort of Susan Lucci of the Idol universe. (Although I guess Lucci would never wear a Statue of Liberty costume to the Daytime Emmys.) Anyway, perhaps the 12th time will be a charm for Boschnack, or maybe he’ll just keep coming back for more punishment, hoping that his willingness to make a complete fool out of himself will get him at the very least a TV Guide Channel gig. Ah, fame in the oughts.